Joint statement from BCA, ACCI and Ai Group: Business cautions against rushed IR changes

21 October 2022

Australia’s peak employer organisations have cautioned that proposed changes to workplace laws will have significant ramifications that raise the risk of higher unemployment, increased strike action and damage to our economic security.  

With every Australian business and every Australian worker to be affected by these proposed legislative changes, it is clear that the government should slow down and consult more widely and more meaningfully. They must be open to the amendments necessary to prevent harmful unintended consequences.

Business has deep reservations that any undue expansion of multi-employer bargaining risks jeopardising the important focus on encouraging employers and employees to reach agreements at the enterprise level.  

Any broader system of multi-employer bargaining must be voluntary and cannot lead to another layer of ill-suited, industry-wide terms and conditions.

The global economy is treading a precarious and perilous path.  It’s critical we avoid any changes that could result in increased industrial action, supply chain bottlenecks, and unsustainable wage pressures.  

Enterprise bargaining should be the cornerstone of our workplace relations system if we are to grow pay packets, improve job security, and boost productivity.  

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott:  

“We want wages to go up but that won’t be achieved by creating more complexity, more strikes and higher unemployment.

“Australia is in the midst of a global economic storm and there’s no room for error if we want to secure our economic future, we have to tread carefully.  

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar:  

“If proposals for multi-employer bargaining force unwanted terms and conditions on workplaces irrespective of whether productivity gains are realised, jobs and small business will be at risk.

“Undermining genuine workplace agreements and increasing the scope for aggressive industrial action are a recipe for disaster with deteriorating international conditions.   

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox:  

“The high-risk proposals as they currently stand will create enormous difficulties for business and carry unintended consequences that will cost jobs and cause serious damage to our economy. We need a workplace relations system that is fair for all parties and delivers sustainable benefits to employees.

“We must avoid extreme changes that risk imposing damaging strikes and harm to the community and businesses. A responsible approach to changes to workplace laws is crucial. We urge the government to take a breath and avoid rushing to introduce such extreme changes to our workplace relations system.”



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